The camp we’re working at is filled with mostly Afghan asylum-seekers and a few Iranis who have recently arrived. New busloads of refugees and asylum seekers came twice already this week, doubling our school and filling up the warehouse.
The camp was originally just tents on the lot around an abandoned factory. Now, the camp directors have built block “apartments” (cubicles with no door and no roof) in the factory warehouse. Even those are filling up fast.
The status of the refugee/asylum/deportation/EU-Turkey deal is a big blank right now. The deal was that Greece would deport all refugees who arrived after March 20 back to Turkey. That meant all of the Afghans, who are tragically not being classified as refugees. However, since the military coup in Turkey, everything is a big mess right now.
Afghans are being told that they aren’t refugees, but “economic migrants,” only migrating for better jobs. But based on the stories I’ve been hearing this week, these people are fleeing death threats, Taliban attacks, bombings and abuse. Would you tell a guy who received death threats from the Taliban that he has to go back to where they are waiting for him?
I’m frustrated because I feel like there’s so much I need to know about the policies and history of the crisis and each country. The only hope anyone has in this camp is that the EU will let them in eventually, but no one knows when or if that will happen. Tensions just keep growing here.
Each day, my women students ask me: “Where can we go? Why does no one want Afghan people? We are humans, too.”